Nigeria’s security challenges have been mounting over the past month, and with more reports on kidnaps, banditry, and Islamic militancy comes a weariness and anxiety amongst Nigerians. Despite these draining emotions, Nigerians have been rallying around on Twitter for the rescue of students of Kaduna’s Greenfield University.
Reportedly some of the students held hostage will be killed today, as has been the case since an undisclosed number of them were kidnapped from the school on April 20 by armed bandits, a piecemeal approach that involves killing the students in small batches and allowing their bodies to be found by the authorities.
As such, the families of the slain students have been thrown in a bubble of grief and misery. What’s puzzling about this state of affairs is that there hasn’t be any encouraging response from security institutions like the police, army or DSS. A rumoured ransom of N55 million was negotiated for the release of the students, and once it was paid, the bandits have maliciously hiked up the price to a N800 million.
In all of these, a sting operation wasn’t carried out by security agencies to trace the hideouts of the bandits and rescue the students. Interestingly Kaduna, under the government of El-Rufai, has a policy of not paying ransom kidnappers. But this doesn’t diminish how the Nigerian government has been negotiating with unrepentant bandits for the release of kidnapped persons.
Kidnapping for ransom has escalated in Kaduna and other parts of northern Nigeria, as criminal gangs target schools that are perceived to be vulnerable. With all that is going on, the presidency is busy trying to distract Nigerians with some ‘good news’ propaganda, an agreement with the government and Microsoft to install high-speed internet infrastructure. Nigerians aren’t relenting in their online crusade to see the students of Greenfield brought home, and this is topic the government should be concerned with.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.